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613-263-5144 Your Not-for-Profit Voice for Local Sport

June 2019

Volley in the veins



Beaver Boxing welcomed Burlington’s Emelia Dermott with open arms; she’s now a four-time national champ.



First-time all-around senior Canadian gymnastics champion Sam Zakutney is now focused on ring-chasing.


From a late start in club ball with the Ottawa Mavericks, Shaïnah Joseph is now looking to push Team Canada women’s volleyball on to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

photo: fivb

After initially despising the sport, Shaïnah Joseph’s volleyball story became about resilience By Melissa Novacaska


Vanessa Gilles, who was one of Canada’s World Cup team’s final cuts, is all set in case she gets a fateful call.

Shaïnah Joseph’s volleyball journey is well beyond what she would have ever imagined when she first tried the sport and hated it.

The Ottawa-native, who now resides in Vancouver, B.C. for six months of the year to train with Volleyball Canada’s National team, said she was first introduced to the sport in elementary school.

“In gym class it was one of the hardest sports to play with a bunch of people because you had to be super skilled to play that sport. It was the most boring sport you could play in gym class,” Joseph told the

Ottawa Sportspage in a phone call from California. The 24-year-old said in Grade 6 she set out a goal for herself to make all her school’s sports teams, and out of them all, she didn’t crack a spot on

the volleyball roster. “I was very upset about that because, I’m like ‘it’s not even a real sport,’” Joseph said.

JOSEPH continues p.10



Ottawa TFC U14 girls steady in club’s inaugural season By Melissa Novacaska The era of Ottawa TFC has officially begun with the club born from the amalgamation of Cumberland United and Capital United having held the official kickoff of its first competitive season. Though the weather was messy for a portion of the June 15 event that featured three of Ottawa TFC’s four Ontario Player Development League (OPDL) teams, the rain didn’t wash away the fun for the club’s eldest OPDL girls squad, who played in the first match of the day. Ottawa TFC’s U14 girls faced off against Whitby, giving it their all in a 2-0 win. The following day they played United FA, losing 2-0. Their weekend results are reminiscent of the team’s season so far, with the squad registering a 4-3 record through their first seven games. They’re in 4th place, just one spot back of the 4-2 Ottawa South U14 girls. Jessie Burgins, head coach of the U14 girls’ team, was optimistic heading into the game and emphasized the importance of the girls simply doing their best.

Maya Galko

photo: melissa novacaska

“Every game so far we approach it from a professional point of view. [We] make sure the girls know that it’s a serious game, that it doesn’t matter who’s there, who’s watching, you have to go out and give your best,” Burgins said. According to Burgins, who comes from the Cumberland side of the merger, the clubs’ combination has been positive so far. “It increases our footprint on Ottawa, in terms of players. We get to

reach a lot of players from different areas,” Burgins said. “Not necessarily about taking them, but it’s about developing them. We have a very good developmental club here so for the kids coming in, they’re definitely learning and growing.” Burgins said he’s seen a major improvement for the U14 girls team as a whole, compared to their U13 days. “They’ve stepped up, they’ve grown from it, they’ve gotten a lot better,” Burgins said. “They’ve grown as a team, they’ve fought through it all; they won, they lost, and I think that’s a big part to them, just how much they’ve grown and how much they’ve developed and that’s been great.” Burgins points out that team captain Maya Galko has been notably exceptional and praised her as being a great team leader. “I think she brings the girls together. They all respect her,” Burgins said. Another player who’s been a key for the team this year is Team Ontario’s Amelia Campanella. “She brings a lot of expertise in terms of just her raw passion of de-

Amelia Campanella

photo: melissa novacaska

sire to want to win and get better,” Burgins said. Both Galko and Campanella have been playing soccer since a young age. They agree there’s been benefits to the club merger. “Definitely you could tell that there’s a lot of strong players that have come [and] I think it gives us more resources,” said Campanella, who plays centre and centre midfielder. Galko, who has played centre

striker, and now moves from left winger to the centre midfielder spot, shared similar sentiments about the fusion’s impact on the club and her team. “We strive on the quality, but it’s also about the quantity that could impact the game. So I feel like more players equals more players to potentially get noticed by scouts and to make our team better as a club,” Galko said. Both girls have big dreams for their future in the sport, including making provincial and national teams, while playing the sport that makes them feel good and includes being around friends. Burgins also noted that the merger is a way for the club to grow in general. “We’re never static, that’s one big thing about our club, we’re not static, we’re always looking to become better, to become the best and whatever that is, and it’s something that never ends,” Burgins said. “When you think about it, you’re always striving to do better [and the] sky’s the limit.” For an update on local club teams’ standings in the OPDL visit



Emelia Dermott: Picking the right fight By Melissa Novacaska Emelia Dermott is a force to be reckoned with. The 17-year-old Burlington-native who studies at the University of Ottawa has been boxing since she was around 11 years old. Though Dermott also played hockey at one point, she admits she wasn’t a “super active” person compared to her family members. She started boxing for fitness purposes, but it became much more than that. After training with a few gyms, she got competitive with the sport. “When [my dad] introduced me to boxing I fell in love with it. It’s a sport that really clicked with me. I can’t image doing any other sport,” Dermott told the Ottawa Sportspage while in Europe for developmental training. After fighting in Burlington and settling with the No Excuse Fitness and Boxing club, Dermott had to make a decision like many her age – where she was going to study in post-secondary school. But for her, it was paired with perhaps an equally important choice of which club she’d train with. Dermott chose uOttawa and found her next club in Beaver Boxing. She had previously worked with Beaver’s club president and coach Jill Perry and said she knew she wanted to train more with her in town. “Jill does a lot of work with girls and boxing, because no one really focuses on it. Boxing isn’t a huge sport in Canada anyway, but all the focus seems to be directed towards the men, which kind of make sense, because there’s more men boxing than women, but it’s just a cycle that keeps going. So Jill was very prominent in the female

Beaver Boxing’s Emelia Dermott

photo: scott penner

boxing scene,” Dermott said. By the time they had trained together for a steady two weeks, Dermott had made up her mind – it was a good fit. Dermott said moving to a new city and going to a new club can be nerve-racking, but that wasn’t the case for her at Beaver. “The transition to Beaver was definitely a change, but I think it was good. It’s really helped my boxing and it’s pushed me to another level,” Dermott said. Though she’s only been at Beaver for less than a year, she’s already accomplished so much. “It’s amazing. We’ve been traveling so much together and I’ve been fighting a lot,” Dermott said. “I’ve made so many friends, which honestly with switching gyms that was never a main focus for me, but it’s a really nice vibe in the gym.” After training with Beaver for a number of months now, and hoping to stay with them for a while, Dermott has a range of good things to say about the club, and about Perry specifically. “Jill’s been incredible. She’s so focused on learning and becoming a better coach and

that’s really good for me as an athlete knowing she’s trying to develop just as I’m trying to develop,” Dermott said. “That’s really relieving for me knowing that she’s working hard and if I put in 100 per cent she puts in 120 per cent. She’s a superwoman, she works so hard and she really wants to see me do well and so it’s just a really good match.” Since her start in the sport, which she says has been “life changing, motivating and inspiring,” Dermott has won four national titles, a silver medal at the continental championships, qualified and fought at world championships and at her first international meet as a Beaver boxer, won a gold medal in an event in Sweden. She says she’s been winning “pretty constantly” in club meets as well, including the recent Ringside for Youth event, a prestigious charity event that benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. Dermott beat an opponent from Mexico at the June edition of the event. Dermott said she was stressed about the match because of the amount of people there, including her parents who came to watch her fight, but overall said it was an “honour” to participate in.

Since boxing with Beaver, Dermott says she’s fought around 10 fights and only lost one. “You do need a loss every once in a while as a humbling and learning experience,” Dermott said. According to Dermott, she knows she’s not at her best yet, but looking back she sees how much she’s accomplished so far. In terms of the sport itself, Dermott said boxing doesn’t just mean one thing for her. “Boxing’s changed for me throughout the years as I’ve developed. When I first started it was a great way to build confidence and skills and it helped me with time management and stuff that I use for school. I just felt better about myself,” Dermott said. “But as I keep going it’s become so much more. It’s really a lifestyle for me and it shows me that if I put my mind to something I can really accomplish anything and it’s nice.” Next up for Dermott is going to be a few more developmental events before preparing to fight for a qualifying spot on Team Canada’s Elite team, and, she hopes, eventually securing a spot to fight at the 2024 Olympic Games.

Ottawa TFC Telegram

OTFC boys ‘grew as a team’ during Czech trip

The Ottawa TFC Soccer Club lives by a philosophy and matching OTFC acronym for its new club: One Total Football Culture. One group of 17 players from the club recently got to live and breathe total football culture in a country where the global game is all-consuming, when they visited the Czech Republic from May 20-28. “It was an amazing experience,” says Jared Linttell, an assistant coach for the 2005-born OTFC boys’ Ontario Player Development League team. “The boys really enjoyed it.” The lead planner for the long-awaited trip was OTFC Technical Director/the team’s Head Coach, Vladan Vrsecky, who enjoyed bringing a group of young players over to the country where he grew up and went on to play professionally. The first stop on the journey was Prague, where the team did a 3-hour walking tour of “a very old city that you just don’t see in Canada,” as Linttell describes it. They also visited the home of AC Sparta Prague, a storied club founded 125 years ago. Sparta Prague plays in “an old communistera stadium, which is pretty worn out itself,” Linttell details, “but they’ve also got their training facility there, which has 5 full-size pitches and then 2 smaller ones all within the walls of that stadium. “I mean, just walking into a big stadium like that was a pretty awesome experience. They all really liked that.” Vrsecky, serving as de facto translator and directions master, then guided the group south to Lipno for a tournament. The first thing that struck the players was the quality of the natural grass pitches. “They make some of our fields in Ottawa look like crop fields,” Linttell laughs. “The boys were really, really impressed with the fields and just how professional everything was.” The standard of professionalism was certainly evident in the quality of opponents the Canadian boys faced as well. Every little town in Czech Republic and Slovakia seemed to have its own high-calibre side. “Watching some of these guys play was pretty impressive,” notes Linttell, whose team matched up with a number of professional clubs’ youth academies. “Many of them will be pros in 5 years time, which is kind of interesting to think of. It’s a very, very high level.” The OTFC boys weren’t outclassed or blown out in their 5 tournament matches, but Linttell indicates that most opponents were indeed a step ahead. The Czechs’ aggressiveness and killer instinct inside both the offensive and defensive 18-yard boxes also stood out. “If our boys didn’t know before, they sure know now how hard they have to work if they want to get that dream of being a pro,” adds Linttell. The overseas journey also provided an invaluable bonding experience for the group. “Now you see how they push each other along when practices get tough,” Linttell signals. “They’ve definitely realized the importance of everyone on the team, and that you need to be on the same page to win.” The trip also allowed players and coaches to get to know each other on more of a personal level. “You get to see them in a bit of a different light. You can see their personalities off the field, or walking around Prague,” highlights Linttell, whose club will also send a girls’ team in the same age group to Europe this fall. “Overall, they definitely grew as a team.”



Sports initiative a success in pilot year By Melissa Novacaska

Unsung Hometown Heroes Celebrating the Special People who Drive our Sports Community

Hannah Martensen boosts girls’ baseball This week I had the opportunity to meet with Hannah Martensen, a former National team baseball athlete who grew up in Ottawa pitching in a mixed baseball league. Due to lack of opportunities in Ottawa, she also spent time in Toronto to access an elite women’s baseball program. After her professional career in baseball, Hannah continues with City of Ottawa to remain engaged in the community Sports Commissioner by encouraging young girls to be inMathieu Fleury volved in the sport of baseball. 2018 was the first year Ottawa had a girls-only baseball league, and Hannah continues to help the sport grow by organizing clinics and tournaments to support young girls and their passion for baseball. With the help of these efforts, over 50 girls from the ages of 7-9 have been able to access this sport. With these efforts ongoing, Hannah, as Co-Chair, is also focused on the upcoming 2019 U21 Women’s Invitational Championships being held in Gatineau from August 1st4th. This is a first time experience for Ottawa with provincial teams competing from all over Canada including Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The tournament website:

As the school year comes to an end, so does a unique initiative put forth by the Ottawa Sport Council and a number of key community partners. The Rideau-Vanier Multisport Project set out to help kids in low-income communities continue physical activities after school hours by providing organized sport activities and help the students, including those how recently moved to Canada, become more physically active. The Ottawa Sport Council collaborated with the local city councillor for the ward, Mathieu Fleury, the Ottawa Internationals Soccer Club and the Ottawa-Carleton Ultimate Association, Ottawa Community Housing, Le Patro d’Ottawa and more to help bring this initiative to roughly 80 students from grades 4 to 6 at three schools in the area. These included École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Anne, École élémentaire publique Mauril-Bélanger and Assumption Catholic School. Along with these partners, the Ontario Trillium Foundation provided a grant for the initiative, which helped make the idea come to life. Wrapping up the pilot project, Marci Morris, executive director of the Ottawa Sport Council, looked back on how it all played out. “It went really, really well. We learned a whole heck of a lot about it,” Morris told the Ottawa Sportspage at one of the initiative’s recent events. According to Morris, the

photo: jeremy soule

The Multisport Project has had a positive impact on students’ lives, as it wraps up its pilot year. main goal of the initiative was initially to get kids more active and then measure how the kids’ fitness had improved from the pilot’s start to its finish. However, that changed as the initiative went along. “What we learned through the initiative was if children don’t have a safe space to play, if they don’t have organized sport and they live in an [underserved] environment, then their chances of being active outside of school are not very high because in many cases there isn’t a local park that they can go to, playing in their neighbourhood may not be the safest of things,” Morris said. “Where we thought what we were doing was we were adding to their physical activity, in some cases, we were really creating opportunities for physical activity because they were in a safe environment and under a structured program.” According to Morris, rather than measure how active the kids were, they were able to measure how satisfied the kids were with the program. “Interestingly we’ve asked


The future is exciting for women’s baseball. Efforts like Hannah’s show young women that there are opportunities for girls to participate, grow and succeed while playing baseball. Do you know a local sports figure we should feature in the Unsung Hometown Heroes column? Let us know! Contact:

613-580-2482 •

photo: jeremy soule

Ashbury College’s senior boys rugby team toppled Cairine Wilson at the city high school championships by a final score of 34-17. At the OFSAA A/AA Championships, the nation’s capital representatives won a bronze medal, beating Kingston’s Frontenac Secondary School by a score of 14-11 in the match for 3rd place.

them all what would stop you from doing this again and they said the only thing that would stop them would be the lack of a program. So (while) our goal was to make them more active, what I think we achieved was building up a demand for a program,” Morris said. According to Morris, the results from the pilot were positive for the most part. Morris said some children experienced positive behavioural changes, while others learned what it was like to be part of a team for the first time. Fleury added to this, saying that another positive of the initiative was that it “mazimized” to use of some of the city’s public infrastructure. He said he thought the initiative was an important one for the city to participate in. “We want our youth to have opportunities. No matter their family income levels. Sports can be expensive and that’s a barrier to access at the same time, it’s part of their mental health, it’s part of their physical health, it’s part of learning to play and work as a team so it contributes to

a successful class setting and a successful learning experience for kids,” Fleury said. Morris also pointed out that she doesn’t think a lot of people know that the Rideau-Vanier Ward doesn’t have any community sport organizations in the neighbourhood, therefore the pilot was put in place as a way to help address that situation. With the pilot finishing at the end of June, Morris said the program’s next steps will be evaluating its success, and using the evidence of the benefits of the program, applying for another grant in the fall. This time though, Morris said the program would be aimed at running for a three-year timeframe and perhaps at some point expand to other schools in need as well. It just becomes a win-win for everybody,” Morris said. Fleury shared similar sentiments about an expanding in the city. “[This initiative] was piloted in Rideau-Vanier and I want it to stay and flourish [there], but it’s not unique to Rideau-Vanier, we’d love to see this expanded across the city,” Fleury said.


photo: jeremy soule

The Nepean Knights bested the Gloucester Griffins 18-10 when the teams squared off late in the Ontario Jr. B Lacrosse League season, in June. At the time of publication, the Knights were in 2nd place in the league’s far east division and had clinched a playoff berth with a record of 13-7. The Griffins are in last place in the division with a record of 4-16.


Face-lifting Ottawa’s sports facilities By Charlie Pinkerton As the wound of Ottawa’s failed 2021 Canada Games proposal turns to a scar, the City and its resident-sports organizations move forward with trying to reconcile one of the nation’s capital’s shortcomings – it’s aging and outdated sports facilities – that the failed bid exposed. Leading the way from the City of Ottawa is Sports Commissioner Mathieu Fleury. His role was created during Mayor Jim Watson’s previous tenure with the purpose of bringing high-profile, top-level sporting events to Ottawa. While that’s still a crucial aspect of Fleury’s mandate, he’s also been tasked with assessing and planning a future for Ottawa’s sports facilities. Fleury told the Sportspage in June that the City is currently reviewing facility standards – the second phase in a fourphase plan for development. It’s already reviewed development charges, which are fees land developers are charged that go towards infrastructure funding. The City’s next phase will look at what sports facilities are out of date, what needs to be rebuilt or is better off sold, before planning begins for the next two decades of facility upgrades. Fleury, who represents the Rideau-Vanier Ward, says he thinks inner-city buildings are most in need of updates. “We’re the oldest part of our city. I’m glad when I see infrastructure like Francois Dupuis (Recreation Centre), like Minto (Field), like Richcraft (Sensplex), but those are all in newer suburban communities,” Fleury said. “The pain-point is in the core, where the standards of the existing facilities is very poor, where the age of the facilities are very old; a lot of them are centennial rinks or centennial facilities, where we continue to see a growth in population but we don’t see new public sports amenities.” Working closely with Fleury is his advisory group, which includes representatives from Ottawa Tourism and the Ottawa Sport Council (OSC). OSC hosted in-person workshops during the second week of June where city staff collected comments from residents about what about the positives and negatives of Ottawa’s recreational facilities. OSC is continuing these consultations online in July. Fleury says local clubs can help the City by polling their members before reporting their thoughts to OSC’s executive director Marci Morris. The athletic directors of Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College are also members of Fleury’s advisory group. Of the post-secondary institutions, Fleury says Carleton has done the best job at keeping its sports amenities up to date. The sports commissioner says his own al-

photo: dan plouffe

ma-mater, uOttawa, needs to be “up next.” In 2015, uOttawa published what it called its “Campus Master Plan,” to guide the future development of its spaces and buildings. The plan says that the university had only 50 per cent of the recreational space required to meet the Council of Ontario Universities standard. “uOttawa’s existing athletic facilities are not sufficient to address current athletics needs,” the report reads. The plan notes the university needs to add more exercise rooms, two more triple gymnasiums, a new fieldhouse with a track and a new 50-metre swimming pool. Michel Guilbeault, uOttawa’s associate vice president of student services, who is responsible for the development of future athletic facilities, told the Sportspage in June he couldn’t share information about any projects’ timelines. “There’s still some detailed internal steps for us to be taken here at uOttawa, but definitely we see the need for the development of additional sporting and recreational facilities to serve our community,” Guilbeault said, adding that the university’s planning still uses the 2015 master plan as a guiding document. Algonquin is planning on opening a new $50 million, 100,000 square foot multi-sport athletics recreation complex in August 2021. The latest publicly available plans show it’ll include a new varsity gymnasium, another basketball court, a volleyball court, an indoor track, a climbing wall, bowling lanes, and a fitness gym. There are also other major non-university or college facilities being planned in Ottawa. The next evolution of the RA Centre stands to be the biggest (and at least most expensive) development coming in the national capital region. RA plans to build a 200,000 square foot sport and rehabilitation centre in front of the RA Centre. Current designs have the building including a two-court gymnasium, a 200-metre track, a 15,000 square foot conditioning room and three pools. The facility will also integrate on-site health care in ways never before seen in Canada. “Long-term athlete development and health care integration are two really key pieces,” RA CEO Tosha Rhodenizer told the Ottawa Sportspage. “It is our intention to redefine the manner in which all of these services are provided in the community.”

Rhodenizer says her organization is hoping the $120 million project will have 60 per cent of its funding covered by various levels of governments. RA’s project is still at least two to three years away from beginning construction. The recently completed House of Sport has been a “resounding success,” according to Rhodenizer. The cooperative workspace is nearly full, housing 40 sports organization, including around 25 of the country’s national sports organizations.

NATIONAL AQUATIC COMPLEX Peter Lawrence, a long-time fixture of Ottawa’s water polo community, is spearheading an effort to build a large water sports facility in the city. He tentatively refers to it as the “National Aquatic Complex.” Lawrence, who says he helped the city with its consultations about aquatics facilities in the 1960s, says the National Capital Commission (NCC) has been intrigued by the idea of the National Aquatic Complex. Lawrence says that a location the size of 14 acres would be necessary to build what he imagines as a facility featuring two 50-metre, 10 lane pools as well as a FINA-compliant dive tank. One location of interest to him is LeBreton Flats, which the NCC held started new consultations on the development of in mid-June. Several developers of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre have shown enough interest in the National Aquatic Complex project to put together a proposal about how to move the project forward, according to Lawrence. “There’s nothing set in concrete, but there’s enthusiasm,” Lawrence said. Before getting excited about the potential projects, Ottawa’s residents should keep in mind the recent history of some promised major developments. Abilities Centre Ottawa was pitched as a fully-accessible, multi-use facility featuring three full-sized basketball courts at LeBreton Flats. The future of its development seems bleak after plans between the NCC and RendezVous LeBreton crumbled over the last year. Fortitude, the $20 million Orleans facility that its developers have pushed as a potential home to international-level competitions, also shows no signs of being any closer to construction than it was more than a year ago. Some other, smaller athletic spaces have fallen through recently as well. The short-lived Sports Training Academy of Industrial Park recently closed. The Kanata Baseball Association also shut the doors of its “Kanata Cubhouse” in April. -With files from Dan Plouffe For more about some of the smaller facility development projects happening in Ottawa, visit

Nepean Nighthawks News

Building a field hockey facility an investment in community-building

People often marvel at the diversity on display during field hockey matches. Unfortunately, the observation isn’t particularly accurate. We’re actually all the same – we all love field hockey. But it’s true. Our sport does have the power to erase lines that sometimes divide us in other aspects of life, like culture, skin colour, or religion. Field hockey often connects people who otherwise might not interact with each other. The opportunity to work together and help build our community – that’s the core reason behind our desire to build a field hockey facility in the nation’s capital. Our sport has grown in leaps and bounds locally in recent years. All kinds of people are flocking to play the world’s second-biggest field sport. The explosion of interest in our area stems in part from our unique blend of traditional ice hockey families playing outdoors in the summertime and those who have come to Canada from other parts of the world where field hockey is simply known as hockey. Hey, it all starts with a hockey stick. Unfortunately, we’ve become a bit of a victim of our own success. There is currently only one place field hockey can be played somewhat adequately in town (though the Minto Field playing surface itself at Nepean Sportsplex is far from optimal). That puts us in competition with other sports groups looking to use the field. Our club can no longer recruit new players into our existing programs because they’re at maximum capacity, and it’s very difficult to access any suitable field time for adults looking to continue playing field hockey without stealing core slots from the youth. It makes it more challenging to engage the next generation of coaches, umpires, volunteers and organizers, which puts our future at risk. Field hockey is growing, but it’s kind of eating itself at the same time. The sport is at a definite crossroads in Ottawa. That’s led us in recent years to develop a vision for a world-class field hockey venue. The estimated $3.5 million facility would include 2 lit, side-by-side synthetic field hockey pitches, spectator seating, changerooms, maintenance/storage and a clubhouse. This would fundamentally change how we deliver programs. It would enable greater participation and quality practice. It would allow young athletes to dream bigger. Our teams’ and athletes’ performances – including provincial/ national titles, Youth Olympic Games medals and Team Canada appearances – have put Nepean on the map in the field hockey world. Field Hockey Canada and the Pan American federation have said such a facility would guarantee major competitions in the capital. We look forward to inspiring players to reach for the top, and to show off what a beautiful city Ottawa is. The facility offers obvious economic benefits for local tourism. The project is based on a responsible business model that includes strategic partnerships, financing and a sustainable bottom line. Those elements are crucially important. But many benefits don’t appear in a ledger, such as reduced health care costs, positive mental health impact, education, youth employment and all the life skills and lessons the sport provides. When we host a tournament, we feed everybody – nobody pays, we all eat together. It shows friendship and hospitality between supposed opponents. Like the kids experience on the field, parents get the chance to come together and realize what’s the same about you rather than what people tell you is different. It’s about bringing families together in a common place so they can understand each other better at a human level. For us, that’s the Canadian way. After more than 50 years of field hockey in Ottawa, a dedicated facility would embed us into the community. It would provide the opportunity to play, and play for life. To give young players something to be a part of. And to be proud of their community.




First-time national champion keeps eyes glued to Olympic prize By Melissa Novacaska Sam Zakutney is having a successful run this gymnastics season, most recently winning the top prize during the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics Canadian Championships. Held in his hometown of Ottawa, the event ran from May 21 to 26 and featured some of the best of the best in the Canadian gymnastics world. After completing six routines including floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar, Zakutney won his first senior all-around gold medal with a score of 83.400. “I was surprised, but I was really just proud and relieved at the same time,” Zakutney told the Ottawa Sportspage. The 20-year-old, who’ll be going into his senior year at Penn State in the fall, represents the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre at events held here in Canada. The prospect of his victory felt “odd” at first, but he says he felt on his game as the event progressed and him winning came to fruition. Something that made his title win extra special was the amount of people Zakutney was able to share the moment with, having the championships held at Carleton’s fieldhouse. Zakutney’s own cheer squad included family, friends and Penn State Nittany Lions’ assistant coach Tony Beck, among others. “Every time I go to a meet at home, my mom tells me she’s going to invite as many people as she can. It kind of gets me worried at first, it’s almost like a little bit more pressure, but that really wasn’t the case

Ottawa’s own Sam Zakutney has his sights set on making Canada’s Olympic Artistic Gymnastics team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

photo: scott grant/gymnastics canada

this time,” Zakutney said. “This was probably the most people my parents have ever invited to a meet, so I was really skeptical at first, but if anything, it kind of just made me more relaxed.” Zakutney said now that the national championships are finished, he’s in a sort-of recovery period. “[I’m] doing the minimum to stay active,” Zakutney said. Next up for Zakutney is potentially being selected to compete on the team heading to the Pam American Games in Peru at the end of July, then the trials for the world championships at the end of August, which if he qualifies for, would lead to him to Germany to take on the best in the world in October. “That’s kind of my plan for the rest of the year,” Zakutney said, with mak-

ing Canada’s next Olympic gymnastics team still his number one priority. “Nothing would make me happier than to represent Canada at the most prestigious multi-sport [event],” Zakutney said. According to Gymnastics Canada’s webpage, there are a number of steps Zakutney will need to take to secure a spot on Canada’s team at the 2020 Tokyo Games. His next opportunity comes at October’s world championships. “At the end of the qualification competition, the nine remaining team places will be awarded along with 12 places for men and 20 for women, which will be decided by the rankings in the all-around competition. Additionally, the three top gymnasts in each apparatus final in Stuttgart

[where the world championships are held], excluding those from qualified teams, will also book their Olympic ticket,” the webpage said. There is also another chance for those competing in the specialist division, which is open to gymnasts who are some of the best in the world at one or two of the six routines that men compete in. The next opportunity for those gymnasts after the world championships is at the Apparatus World Cup series, which is a series of events that began last November and run until March 2020. “The four women’s and six men’s winners on each apparatus – a ranking decided by taking the best three results of each participant in the series – will be Tokyo-bound (on the

condition that these gymnasts have not participated in the qualification of their team),” the Gymnastics Canada webpage said. The final few opportunities available to athletes to qualify for a shot at the Olympics is at the 2020 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Cup series, as well as at the various continental championships held during the spring of next year. According to Forget, this year’s world championships is when Gymnastics Canada hopes to decide both its men’s and women’s artistic Olympic gymnastics team. Though making the Games is a dream for Zakutney, he said there’s more to it than that. “I’d be a lot happier if we competed successfully as a team,” Zakutney said. “I really just want to be one of the guys that helps put Canada back on top as one of the superior countries [in gymnastics and] back to where it [once] was.” With the “tremendous” support from his family, friends, coaches and school, Zakutney said the sport has given him “a lot more confidence,” and has allowed him to become better at handling pressure and be more disciplined and devoted to a number of things in his life, including school work. “There’s never a dull moment, there’s always something new you can do, there’s something more that happens that makes you feel like you’re superhuman and I think that that rush, that feeling is what I really love about the sport. It never dies down, it’s always as exciting,” Zakutney said.

July 12-14, 2019 B/C Divisions: Tyke Novice Peewee Bantam Midget



‘I’ll be ready’: Gilles a call-up away from FIFA World Cup By Brendan Shykora While vacationing in Italy, Vanessa Gilles followed the FIFA Women’s World Cup match between Canada and Cameroon intently. Like many fans back in Canada, she shared in Kadeisha Buchanan’s excitement after the centre back headed home the winning goal of the team’s tournament opener on June 10 – the first electric moment in what is expected to be a deep run into the medal rounds. But unlike others who watched the game from afar, it’s easy for Gilles to envision herself right there on the pitch. As one of the final cuts for Team Canada, the 22-year-old footballer was a hair’s breadth away from being a part of the opening roster. For the young centre back who moved to Ottawa from Shanghai as a preteen, there are no hard feelings about being left off the starting roster as she watches Team Canada compete – only showers of

Vanessa Gilles

photo: canada soccer

praise and admiration for the players and coaches she’s gotten to know of late. “Kadeisha (Buchanan) is just an incredible athlete,” Gilles told the Sportspage during a phone interview from Italy. “She has pace, she anticipates the game (and) has a lot more technique and awareness.” “In the next few years I hope to learn from players like Kadei-

sha, what she’s already learned four years ago when she started playing for Canada.” Having switched from tennis to soccer at age 15, reaching the cusp of soccer’s highest level this quickly surpasses all expectations. Far from being disappointed at having come so close to the World Cup, Gilles was ecstatic to have received a promising message from Team



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Canada’s coach along with an invite to a training camp in May. “When coach (Kenneth Heiner-Moller) called me in to the May camp he had told me ahead of time, ‘I don’t think you’ll be one of my 23s but we really want you to be in camp,’” Gilles recalled. “He said to try to learn every step you can, and if anyone gets injured, ‘you’ll be the

first one to come up,’ so just focus.” Gilles says she’ll be ready to step in at a moment’s notice if called upon. “Even now watching the games I’m still focused. If they need me, I’ll be ready.” For Gilles it’s been a steady year of acclimatizing to the life of a French Division 1 professional player. Currently half way through a two-year contract with Girondins de Bordeaux, she finds herself inspired not only by the level of skill and technique among the players, but also the level of passion within French football culture. “The French league right now is being televised for every single game and club, which is incredible on its own for women’s soccer,” she emphasized. “You don’t see that really in any other country.” Gilles is known as a strong physical and vocal presence on the back end, and while her technical game is still raw, she’s great in the air heading the ball. Over the past year at Bordeaux and at training

camps with Team Canada, she’s begun to learn some of the subtler details of the professional game. “At that (May) camp it was just the mannerisms, and how people behave in big games,” Gilles said looking back on her biggest takeaways from training alongside veterans like Christine Sinclair. For now, Gilles is content to cheer on the Canadian squad she trained with throughout the year, while getting some reprieve during the French league’s brief offseason. But with pre-season just weeks away she won’t be resting long, and having had a sample of the national-team experience, she’s hungry for more. “I think when you get to that level and you get a taste of it, just like anything else in life, you want it even more,” Gilles said. “I want to work for the next World Cup, or work for the Olympics ... work to get to wherever I know I can be. It’s just a matter of putting your mind to it.”



Budding track star proves worth at OFSAA By Melissa Novacaska

The Rebelles Wrap • La Rubrique Rebelle

Louis-Riel’s sports-study program leaps higher with cheer stream The newest members of the Louis-Riel sportsstudy program are a high-flying, high-energy bunch. Established in partnership with Flyers Cheer Gym in Orleans, the popular new cheer stream will soon wrap up its first season, its athletes set to emerge as a stronger group ready to tackle the next levels in their ever-growing sport. “It’s been really beneficial,” indicates Kelly Nightingale, the Flyers’ club manager. “They get more time to train those extra skills so they are all ready to move forward next year, instead of just starting to learn the more difficult skills.” Nightingale notes that cheer has drastically evolved from the dated image of cheerleaders with pom-poms on the sidelines, there to support the boys’ team. Cheer today features dynamic, intense routines full of tumbling, stunting and throws. The time spent training now matches or exceeds many sports. The Louis-Riel students study in regular classes in the morning, then split their regular fourth periods between the Flyers studio and the Dome LR for physical conditioning. “A lot of our skills are strength-based, like tumbling

and stunting,” highlights Nightingale, “so individual conditioning and practicing for 3 hours here really builds up their stamina and strength to hit the higher-level skills without any injuries.” Cheer athletes often have backgrounds in other sports like gymnastics, dance or figure skating, and either come to cheer to perfect the skills they need in their own sport, or to try a new sport altogether. That’s the case for a pair of Louis-Riel students, Juliette Emers and Marissa Houle. Emers switched from gymnastics to cheer 3 years ago, while Houle was previously in trampoline and is now in her first year of cheer. “When I came, I didn’t know everyone and they welcomed me extremely well,” Houle recounts. “It’s really nice that it’s that way. We can all trust each and we’re all there for each other.” Emers was also attracted to the “team sport” atmosphere that cheer provides. Both Emers and Houle say their ultimate goal is to make it onto a world championships team – like their coach Makiya Plant. Plant is a former gymnast herself who’s twice won world titles with the sister Flyers club in Montreal, which is widely recognized amongst the best in Canada and around the world. “Even with our coaches, it’s like we’re a big family, a big group of friends,” underlines Emers. “We all work together and I really like that.”

Un grand saut à L-R avec le programme pour meneuses de claque

Les nouveaux membres du programme sports-études de Louis-Riel sont très énergiques et très dynamiques. Créé en partenariat avec le Flyers Cheer Gym d’Orléans, le nouveau et populaire programme de meneuses de claque terminera bientôt sa première saison, ses athlètes étant en passe de devenir un groupe plus fort, prêt à s’attaquer aux prochains niveaux de leur sport en pleine croissance. « Le nouveau programme a été très bénéfique  », indique Kelly Nightingale, gérante du club des Flyers. « Elles ont plus de temps pour acquérir les autres compétences qui les préparent à passer au programme de l’année prochaine, au lieu de simplement commencer à apprendre les compétences les plus difficiles. » Mme Nightingale précise que les meneuses de claque ont radicalement évolué : de l’image désuète des filles à pompons  au bord de la ligne de touche, simplement là pour soutenir l’équipe des garçons, elles offrent désormais des routines dynamiques et intenses pleines de culbutes, de cascades et de lancers. Le temps consacré à l’entraînement est maintenant égal ou supérieur à celui consacré à de nombreux autres sports. Les élèves de Louis-Riel étudient en classe régulière le matin, puis elles consacrent leur quatrième période régulière à l’entraînement entre le studio Flyers et au Dôme LR pour le conditionnement physique. « Beaucoup de nos compétences sont basées sur la force, comme les

pirouettes et les cascades, souligne Mme Nightingale. L’entraînement individuel et la pratique pendant trois heures renforcent vraiment leur endurance et leur force physique, ce qui leur permet d’atteindre les compétences de niveau supérieur sans se blesser ». Les meneuses de claque ont souvent déjà pratiqué d’autres sports comme la gymnastique, la danse ou le patinage artistique. C’est justement le cas pour deux étudiantes de Louis-Riel, Juliette Emers et Marissa Houle. Juliette est passée de la gymnastique à l’équipe de meneuses de claque il y a trois ans, alors que Marissa faisait auparavant du trampoline et en est maintenant à sa première année de meneuse de claque. « Quand je suis arrivée, je ne connaissais personne et on m’a très bien accueillie, se rappelle Marissa. C’est vraiment chouette que ce soit comme ça. On peut tous se faire

confiance et nous sommes toutes là les unes pour les autres. » Juliette était également attirée par l’ambiance d’un « sport d’équipe » que procurent les équipes de meneuses de claque. Juliette et Marissa disent toutes deux que leur objectif ultime est de se qualifier pour les championnats du monde — comme l’a fait Makiya Plant, leur entraîneuse. Ancienne gymnaste ayant remporté à deux reprises des titres mondiaux avec le club jumeau des Flyers à Montréal, une équipe qui est largement reconnue comme l’une des meilleures au Canada et au monde. « Même avec nos entraîneuses, on a l’impression d’être une grande famille, un grand groupe d’amies, souligne Juliette. On travaille toutes ensemble et j’aime vraiment ça. »

Luca Nicoletti finished off his school year on a high note, as he became a double-medallist at this year’s Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Championships for track and field. The event, which took place from June 6 to 8 at the University of Guelph, saw Nicoletti capture the gold medal in the men’s 100m hurdles midget division, with a time of 13.69 seconds, and the silver medal in the men’s 300m hurdles midget division, in a race he ran in 39.47 seconds. Not only was this the first time the Grade 9 student from École secondaire catholique Paul- Desmarais attended the provincial high school championships, but it was the first time his school medaled at the highest meet in the province. When chatting with the Ottawa Sportspage, the 15-yearold shared positives about his Championships experience. “[I feel] pretty good, [it was] exciting because it was my first time at OFSAA, and it’s pretty crazy,” Nicoletti said about his results. On top of placing well with hurdles, Nicoletti also finished 10th overall in the 100m dash. While competing at a high level competition, Nicoletti remembers having to keep his emotions in check. “It was kind of scary seeing the big crowd and everyone there, but after my first race it became a lot easier and it became more exciting than scary,” Nicoletti said. Nicoletti, an athlete for both his high school’s Patriotes team and with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club, said training for the championships was “pretty fun.” His regiment consisted of warming up with some cardio with running for roughly 15 minutes, stretching, hurdle exercises, sprinting starts and working on his form. Nicoletti says he’s been with the Lions since around March but has ran track with his school’s teams since he was in Grade 7. He explained more as to why he decided to get into track and field in the first place. “I kind of run fast. I enjoy it, it’s fun and I started seeing my friend doing it and I went to the club with him and I enjoyed it a

Luca Nicoletti

photo: ottawa lions track and field club

lot so I decided to sign up this year for the school team,” Nicoletti said. Throughout the year, Nicoletti also plays soccer, swims and takes lifeguarding classes, and during the school year he balances his activities all while still completing his assignments. Nicoletti said he might continue running track this summer, something he thinks would give him a chance to continue competing after high school. “I think I’m going to be training more this summer and hopefully I’ll work on my skill and I’ll see where that takes me,” Nicoletti said. With all the success he’s had so far, there’s a big support group backing him up and attending his meets, including his parents and grandparents, who also made the six-hour road trip to Guelph for the Championships. Then there are his coaches, Christiane Lalonde and Gordon Cavé, who’ve been his top supports since he joined his high school track team this year. “They helped me throughout this whole season, they know what they’re doing. Honestly I don’t know what I’m doing that much in track, so I have to thank them for everything that I know so far and they’re very supportive and fun” Nicoletti said. Lalonde and Cavé both called Nicoletti humble and the “whole package” when it comes to him as a person on and off the track. Lalonde said Nicoletti may not have known the talent he has for the sport, but that the championships should be an “eye-opener” for him. “It’s very encouraging for him, for us [and] for the rest of the team,” Lalonde said. “To

get out there and manage his emotions and just do what he did was really cool.” According to Lalonde, Nicoletti is someone who shows up ready to compete, listens to his coaches and applies any feedback to his craft right away. On top of the OFSAA Championships, Nicoletti had other success with the sport this year, including braking records at the East Regionals and winning athlete of the year at Paul-Desmarais. Lalonde also noted that other students are now starting to look up to him. “He’s had a lot of success this season and he doesn’t let anything go to his head,” Nicoletti said. “It’s one thing to work with a kid who had talent, but with someone who’s willing to be better, it’s something else and that’s why his potential is so great. He’s never settling, he’s just ready to learn more and he wants more.” Though Nicoletti said he knows he has to practise on some of his skills including his starts, and jumps over the hurdles, among other things, “practise does make perfect.”

PAUL-DESMARAIS PRIZES There were personal bests for students at École secondaire catholique Paul- Desmarais with Ribensly Boisette tying and finishing 4th in the men’s midget division high jump, Katie Manor finishing 9th in the women’s junior division 100m dash and the women’s junior 4X100m relay team coming in 13th place. For a list of the other 19 medal-winning Ottawa athletes and teams at the 2019 OFSAA Track and Field Championships, visit


OTTAWA SPORTSPAGE SNAPSHOTS OTTAWA WATER POLO COACH SUSPENDED AFTER SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGES LAID Water Polo Canada gave Ottawa-based Water Polo coach, Celso Rojas, an interim suspension, for “alleged violations of the Water Polo Canada Code of Conduct.” According to a Water Polo Canada June 5 press release, the interim suspension was in effect immediately and at the time of the release, was pending resolution of criminal charges laid by the Ottawa Police Service. According to the Ottawa Police Service June 5 press release, the Ottawa Police Service Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit charged Rojas with 1 count of Sexual Assault and 1 count of Sexual Interference on a teenaged female as result of incidents that occurred over the first seven months of 2018. Police say the alleged incidents occurred while Rojas was working as an Ottawa water polo coach.


Barrhaven’s Merissah Russell was selected as part of the senior women’s Canadian national team roster to be part of a five-game European exhibition tour. The tour took place first in Belgium from June 14 to 16 and then went to Great Britain from June 18 to 19. There were 12 athletes selected from Canada Basketball to participate in this tour. The tour would see Russell gain some international game experience, while playing games against world-class talent with teams also competing from Belgium, China, Spain and Great Britain.

CYCLIST PLACES IN TOP FIVE DURING GATINEAU GRANDE PRIX Gatineau’s Ariane Bonhomme, who represents Ottawa’s The Cyclery Racing, placed 4th at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau event on June 6, 2019. Bonhomme finished the race behind two other Canadian’s and one American cyclist.

OSU Force Academy Zone OSU family saluted for off-field feats

While the action on the pitch heats up this season, several members of the Ottawa South United Soccer Club family were recently honoured for their off-field contributions to our community. Siblings Sanchit and Riya Gupta received the Mayor’s City Builder Award from Mayor Jim Watson at a City Council meeting on May 27.

OTTAWA GOALBALL PLAYERS GOING TO PARAPAN AMERICAN GAMES Amy Burk and Whitney Bogart are set to head to Lima, Peru, as part of Canada’s Goalball Team heading to the 2019 ParaPan American Games from Aug.17 to Sept 1. The Ottawa-based athletes were selected by the Canadian Blind Sports Association (CBSA) Selection Committee to make the team, which was based off of the 2019-2020 National Team Pool and Selection document as the best combination of centers and wingers from the National Team Pool. Both Burk and Bogart have been to various competitive events before, including the worlds and for Burk, the Paralympics.

MADELINE SCHMIDT PADDLES HER WAY TO SPRINT WORLD CUP 2 Ottawa’s Madeline Schmidt had a successful run at the Sprint World Cup 2, by finishing in an impressive 8th place in the K1 1000m division. The second International Canoe Federations’ (ICF) Sprint World Cup, had outstanding performances from twenty Canadian top sprint paddlers. The event took place from the end of May to June 2.

LOCAL SOCCER STAR REPRESENTS CANADA AT CONCACAF GOLD CUP Ottawa’s Jonathan David is playing hard at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup event in host countries of the United States, Costa Rica and Jamaica. David, one of Team Canada’s strikers who previously played for Louis-Riel’s study-program team has also taken a place for the KAA Gent in the Europa League. So far, Team Canada’s first match of the tournament on June 15 ended with them winning 4-0 against Martinique, with David scoring two of those goals. The final game of the tournament will be on July 7.

OTTAWANS MAKING WAVES IN WATER POLO WORLD Ottawa’s Mackenzie Greco was selected as one of the water polo athletes on this year’s youth women’s national team. Greco currently represents the Capital Wave Ottawa Water Polo Club.The Ottawa Titans Water Polo Club won a national bronze medal, while Team Canada’s women’s team came on top at the end of the FINA World League Super Final in Budapest, Hun. from June 4-9. They finished the event by beating China 13 to 10, coming in 7th place overall.

EMMA KELLY GLIDES HER WAY TO JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM Nepean’s Emma Kelly was selected as one of the ringette players to be on the junior national team, which will compete at the 2019 World Ringette Championship. The event will take place in Burnaby, B.C. from Nov. 25 to 30, 2019. Kelly is among a total of 22 athletes who were chosen for the team, based off a selection camp that took place in Ottawa in May. The teen will not only represent Canada, but also Ontario. Kelly previously played in the Canada Winter Games and the Ontario Winter Games.




photo: dan plouffe photo: jeremy soule

Former high school coach Rick Desclouds (right) was one of four individuals inducted into the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame on May 31. Over 37 years of teaching and coaching at Centretown’s Glashan Public School Desclouds amassed 112 total Ottawa board championships with teams including in volleyball, basketball, track and field, cross-country running, touch football, flag football, gymnastics, badminton and soccer. Desclouds’ fellow inductees included former Ottawa Senator Chris Phillips, Canadian wheelchair basketball pioneer and six-time Paralympian Chantal Benoit and middle distance runner and twotime Olympian John Halvorsen. The Grey Cup-winning Ottawa Rough Riders of 1968 and 1969 also joined the Hall of Fame.

On the eve of her 30th birthday, Stittsville native Erica Wiebe was back in her hometown to lead an intro-to-wrestling clinic for youngsters from age 8-11. The 2016 Olympic wrestling champion hosted the clinic, an inspirational talk, followed by a meet-and-greet at the gymnasium named in her honour inside the Cardelrec Recreation Complex Goulbourn. The Calgary-based product of the National Capital Wrestling Club most recently won an international tournament in Italy on May 23 and a bronze medal at April’s Pan American Championships. Wiebe is building towards September’s 2019 World Championships and ultimately the 2020 Olympics. The 2018 world bronze medallist will chase her first world title in Kazakhstan, while a top-6 finish would clinch a Canadian berth in the Tokyo 2020 Games.

photo: jeremy soule

The Rideau Canoe Club hosted its members and more than 75 of its alumni for a reunion on June 8, where it also unveiled its new “Wall of Champions.” Seven of the club’s former commodores attended, where they received special recognition from current Commodore Tom Hoferek. Pictures of the Rideau Canadian Champions of the 1990s and 2000s will now line the walls of the club beside similar dedications to recent champions, like last year’s club team. “That was a great event I am feeling very proud of Rideau this morning,” one attendee said, as quoted in the club’s newsletter.

The Award recognized the Guptas’ efforts to establish an Ottawa chapter of MealCare, a non-profit organization that aims to combat food waste. Working with local restaurants, university cafeterias and grocery stores, the Guptas take in surplus food, and, with the help of fellow volunteers, redirect it to shelters and soup kitchens where it is needed most. Sanchit founded the first MealCare chapter at McGill University in Montreal and there are now three chapters on university campuses across Canada. He manages the MealCare national team and is a mentor for new chapters. Riya spearheaded the effort at the University of Ottawa, where she is studying towards a health sciences honours degree. Since its start in 2016, MealCare has distributed more than 10,000 meals to those in need and has saved $50,000 for partner homeless shelters. Riya has been a player and coach at OSU for many years, and Sanchit was a key member of groundbreaking 1997 boys’ squad that won Eastern Ontario’s first provincial youth championship back in 2013. Meanwhile, Rene Braendli was amongst the distinguished individuals honoured by Ontario Soccer for their life-long commitment to sport in the province at the Centre Circle Awards on June 15 in Toronto. Rene initiated both his professional and soccer coaching career in Ottawa shortly after his departure from Switzerland in the 1990’s. He has coached and mentored hundreds of young girls over the years, many of whom are now having their own children and enrolling them in soccer, as a testimony to their love of soccer instilled by their kind, hardworking, and dedicated coach. Rene’s most notable soccer successes were with the Iron Eagles and Spirit teams. These teams were trailblazers for girls’ soccer in the Ottawa area. Rene played a significant role in all areas of their success – he recruited and trained these girls, creating ‘super teams’. Rene’s passion for the art of coaching has fuelled an expansion of girls’ soccer programs in Ottawa and makes him a model figure in the province. To this day, Rene continues to dedicate 5 days a week to the mini girls’ program at OSU. He exhibits as much enthusiasm and energy today as he has for the past 20+ years.

LIVERPOOL COACH VISIT & REX SCREENING There are many recent exciting developments on the field at OSU as well. The club is excited to welcome Vicky Jepson back to town to work with our U9-U16 girls’ players from June 19-24. This is a great opportunity for players to train with one of the top female coaches in the game today. One of England’s most highly-regarded coaches, Vicky was appointed Manager of the at Liverpool Women’s team this past year after being with the club since 2009. Anna Swyers and Juliann Lacasse recently got a look from the Canadian women’s national team program. Anna has been with OSU since Timbits soccer and is excelling at both goalkeeper and on the field for the 2006 Girls, while Juliann joined OSU’s 2003 Girls provincial-champion team as a goalkeeper from the Ottawa-Gloucester Hornets to help her in the next stage of her development journey. The pair took part in Canada Soccer’s regional excel (REX) program screening in early June.



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Contacts For News/Editorial: Charlie Pinkerton Editor 613-929-3681 For Advertising/CAMPS Project Partnerships: Dan Plouffe Executive Director 613-261-5838 The Ottawa Sportspage is a not-for-profit publication devoted to shining a spotlight on local amateur sport. Under the direction of the Ottawa Community Sport Media Team, our group also runs the CAMPS Project alongside the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation’s recLINK program. The Connecting Athletes of All Means to Paths in Sport Project links OCH children & youth to free opportunities with our partner sports groups, which receive heavily discounted advertising in exchange for offering the positions in their programs at no cost to our participants. CAMPS PROJECT PARTNERS Beaver Boxing Club Bytown Storm Triathlon Club Capital City Dance Capital Wave Water Polo Club Carleton Jr. Ravens Cumberland United Soccer Club ÉSP/Dome Louis-Riel FC Capital United Soccer Club Geng Table Tennis Academy Gloucester Griffins Lacrosse Gloucester Skating Club Kanata GymnoSphere Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club KV Dance Studio Nepean Corona School of Gymnastics Nepean Hotspurs Soccer Club Nepean Nighthawks Field Hockey Olympia Gymnastics Ottawa Girls’ Hockey Association Ottawa Gymnastics Centre Ottawa Lions Track & Field Club Ottawa National Diving Club Ottawa New Edinburgh Club Ottawa Rowing Club Ottawa South United Soccer Club Ottawa Table Tennis Club RA Centre Rideau Canoe Club Royal City Soccer Club St. Anthony’s Futuro Soccer Club Tennis For Life Ottawa TMSI Sports Management Inc. Tumblers Gymnastics Centre YMCA-YWCA

Teams of the Month: Louis Riel Rebelles Senior Boys’ and Girls’ soccer teams

Athlete of the Month: Emma Yau About: Emma Yau concluded a standout competitive rhythmic gymnastics season with a silver medal at the June 7-9 Ontario Championships at the Markham Pan Am Centre. Yau was on the podium for each of her three apparatuses (hoop, clubs and choice) to place 2nd all-around in the top provincial level for age 13-15 athletes. She also earned a second provincial silver medal alongside her Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club teammates in the aesthetic group gymnastics senior division. Yau’s top result this season was in April when she became the all-around Eastern Canadian regional champion in the L5C division.

About: Louis Riel’s men’s and women’s soccer teams shared in provincial high school medallist glory at the OFSAA ‘A’ Soccer Championships. The men’s Rebelles team outscored opponents 11-4 in pool play at the Hamilton-held championships, propelling them to the tournament’s playoffs with a 3-1 record. They beat Pickering’s Ronald-Marion 3-1 in the quarterfinals before being eliminated from gold medal contention by Alexandria’s Glengarry High by an identical 3-1 score in the semis. The Rebelles men beat St. Paul of the Peel Region 2-0 to win the bronze medal. On the women’s side, the Rebelles swept through pool play with a 4-0 record on a 11-2 goal differential. The Louis Riel women beat Smithville Christian 2-0 in the quarterfinals before also losing to an Alexandria team, Le Relais, by a score of 2-1. They beat Lord Dorchestor 2-1 to win bronze medals. E-mail to nominate your Stars! Courtesy of the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region, the selected Stars of the Month will receive free passes to the Y.

JOSEPH: Former 6th Grade snub now has Olympic medal ambitions continued from COVER She later successfully tried out at École secondaire catholique Franco-Cité, and from there, stuck with it. According to Joseph, she was terrible the first year she played, but got much better in her second season. “I was very physical, but I was not controlled,” Joseph said. She decided to pick up the sport outside of school by joining the Maverick Volleyball Club, which in time, led to her excelling in the sport and receiving offers from universities in Canada, and later from NCAA schools in the United States. The University of Nebraska was her dream school for some time before she was recruited by the University of Florida, where she says she fell in love. The combination of the Gainesville campus, the school’s brand and program, and a coach who felt like the right fit sealed the deal for Joseph. She was a Gator for five years, playing a mix of positions before settling into her natural position as a right side hitter. During her junior season with Florida she red-shirted for the team, a decision she said she was confused about, but ultimately trusted her coach to make. To make things worse, while she was playing on Can-

ada’s national team during her fourth year at Florida she suffered a sprained ankle. “(It) was just a mental battle with myself,” Joseph said, which then turned to personal battles with her career. In her final year at Florida she kept improving and was named an All-American, which she called a “pretty cool accomplishment” for her senior year. After graduating, she played for a stint in Bulgaria, played for Canada’s national team (which she’s in her sixth year as a member of) including at last year’s world championships in Japan, and also spent half of this past season in Taiwan. From a sport she once reviled, volleyball has now shaped the bulk of Joseph’s adult life. “Volleyball to me means discipline. It means being smart, it’s not just about being physical, it’s being smart and in your game and I think it’s also about a team sport,” Joseph said. “The biggest thing [for me] is all about the team sport aspect [and] how connected you have to be with those six on the court at every moment.” Joseph also said that the sport has given her a number of opportunities such as an education and travel, but also to develop as a player and as person, become independent and have confidence.

“[It’s taught me] how to be resilient, how to deal with people [and] how to deal with people who don’t speak the same language [as you],” Joseph said. According to Joseph, she is the only person in her family to play a sport at an elite level, but her family supports her and the sport has allowed them to better understand her dream and what it means to her. When she spoke with the Sportspage in June, Joseph was unsure about whether she

would be a member of Canada’s team to compete at next month’s Pan American Games in Peru, because of a similarly timed Olympic qualifier event being held in Russia. To the former sixth-grade snub, simply qualifying for the world’s most prestigious sporting event isn’t enough. “The ultimate goal is qualifying for the Olympics and going to the Olympics and being a podium team,” said Joseph, who most recently helped Team Canada to victories over

Puerto Rico and Mexico at the May 31 to June 2 Women’s Challenge Cup near Montreal. . “It’s also along that journey you want to be able to evolve your game and develop your game and become one of the top athletes in the world and along with that means getting good contracts, so you can evolve your game and be playing in the toughest and best leagues in the world and making a proper living as a professional athlete, that’s also the goal.”



No rebound necessary: Wolverines score another provincial title By Melissa Novacaska The Gloucester Wolverines top men’s team won their second consecutive provincial title at this year’s Ontario Basketball Provincial Championships. The championships, which took place in Toronto from May 31 to June 2, were capped off with Gloucester Cumberland Basketball Association’s (GCBA) U17 Elite men’s team claiming 1st place with a 62-48 win over Wellington’s Flamborough Fire in the gold medal game. The team won the equivalent to the provincial crown last year in the U16 division by beating the Mississauga Monarchs 68-63. That title was historic, as the team’s manager David Gauthier put it, as it was the Wolverines’ first ever provincial championship. It was even more special for the team’s core, many who had played together for years. But this year’s team reached even greater heights. Nine players out of the team’s roster of 12 were returnees from the 2018 squad. The U17 Wolverines added three new players, but it was re-

The Gloucester Wolverines U17 Elite men’s team. turning teammates Isaiah Pemberton and Sacha Gauthier, who have played together for the better part of a decade, who led the team in scoring. Mikael-Benedict Worku was one of the team’s new additions. Worku, who plays centre, said the provincial championship was “a little overwhelming.” “It was a very a good experience with the guys. The win [included] effort the entire way,” Worku said. “I think overall it was relief because we put a lot of time and effort into our season and to come out on top felt pretty nice.” Worku says basketball has had

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a way of helping him through difficult times during his life, yet going into the championships he had one thought: “To make a statement.” “We have to show that Ottawa can play ball, and we proved that, that weekend,” Worku said. The Wolverines’ leadup to the championships was intense, according to the big man, but that benefited his team in the long-run. A difference between this year’s championships and last is the new structure of the Ontario Basketball Association’s finals. Until this year, all championships

were played under the Ontario Cup umbrella, which included division 1 and beyond. This season, elite teams – such as the U17 Wolverines – competed for their age group’s official Provincial Championship, while others competed for tiered Ontario Cups. Despite feeling as though his team was the favourite heading into this year’s provincials, Gauthier still had nerves watching the finals game. Throughout the provincial championships the Wolverines were repeatedly ahead of their opponents, which wasn’t the case in the gold medal

matchup. “This game the other team came out shooting very hot. They held it for most of the first two quarters and then we had the lead at the half and then kind of took control,” Gauthier said. “It was a bit nerve racking wondering if it’s going to slip away, but the kids played really tough defence and [there was desire and] the kids were just diving after the ball and just really wanted it.” Pemberton said that although last year’s win was more emotional because the title was their first, this season’s was still satisfying. “This year was nice to be able to defend our crown,” Pemberton said. The team’s scoring was balanced at provincials, with Gauthier saying the height of his team, which features players as tall as 6-foot-9, gave them an advantage. The Wolverines finished their season with an overall record of 29-5. Before they wrap up their season, the Wolverines will compete in a final series of games at the St. Laurent Express Tournament in Montreal at the end of June.

Profile for Dan Plouffe

Ottawa Sportspage  

The June 2019 edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.

Ottawa Sportspage  

The June 2019 edition of the Ottawa Sportspage newspaper.